The MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE BATH (formerly the MOST HONOURABLE MILITARY ORDER OF THE BATH) is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight , which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not (as is commonly believed) revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.
* KNIGHT GRAND CROSS (GCB ) or DAME GRAND CROSS (GCB ) * KNIGHT COMMANDER (KCB ) or DAME COMMANDER (DCB ) * COMPANION (CB )
Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class, KNIGHT COMPANION (KB), which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.
Order of the Bath
* 1 History
* 1.1 Knights of the Bath * 1.2 Foundation of the order * 1.3 Restructuring in 1815 * 1.4 The Victorian era * 1.5 The 20th century
* 2 Composition
* 2.1 Sovereign * 2.2 Great Master * 2.3 Members * 2.4 Officers
* 3 Habit and insignia * 4 Chapel * 5 Precedence and privileges * 6 Revocation
* 7 Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross
* 7.1 Knights and Dames Grand Cross * 7.2 Honorary Knights and Dames Grand Cross
* 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 External links
KNIGHTS OF THE BATH
A painting by
From the coronation of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were
restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations , investitures
Prince of Wales
From at least 1625, and possibly from the reign of James I , Knights
of the Bath were using the motto Tria iuncta in uno (
FOUNDATION OF THE ORDER
The prime mover in the establishment of the
Order of the Bath
It was Martin Leake's opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis
met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against
the heralds that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his
prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense. It
is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the
The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed
considerably from the modern honours system in which hundreds, if not
thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of
deserving accomplishments. The only honours available at that time
were hereditary (not life) peerages and baronetcies , knighthoods and
Order of the Garter
The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political world. The King was limited in that he had to choose Ministers who could command a majority in Parliament , but the choice remained his. The leader of an administration still had to command the King's personal confidence and approval. A strong following in Parliament depended on being able to supply places, pensions, and other marks of Royal favour to the government's supporters.
The attraction of the new Order for Walpole was that it would provide a source of such favours to strengthen his political position. George I having agreed to Walpole's proposal, Anstis was commissioned to draft statutes for the Order of the Bath. As noted above, he adopted the motto and badge used by the Knights of the Bath, as well as the colour of the riband and mantle, and the ceremony for creating a knight. The rest of the statutes were mostly based on those of the Order of the Garter, of which he was an officer (as Garter King of Arms). The Order was founded by letters patent under the Great Seal dated 18 May 1725, and the statutes issued the following week.
The Order initially consisted of the Sovereign, a Prince of the blood
Royal as Principal Knight, a Great Master and thirty-five Knights
Companion. Seven officers (see below) were attached to the Order.
These provided yet another opportunity for political patronage, as
they were to be sinecures at the disposal of the Great Master,
supported by fees from the knights. Despite the fact that the Bath was
represented as a military Order, only a few military officers were
among the initial appointments (see List of Knights Companion of the
Order of the Bath
* Members of the House of Commons : 14 * The Royal Household or sinecures: 11 * Diplomats: 4 * The Walpole family, including the Prime Minister: 3 * Naval and Army Officers: 3 * Irish Peers: 2 * Country gentlemen with Court Appointments: 2
Admiral Lord Rodney (appointed a
The majority of the new Knights Companions were knighted by the King
and invested with their ribands and badges on 27 May 1725. Although
the statutes set out the full medieval ceremony which was to be used
for creating knights, this was not performed, and indeed was possibly
never intended to be, as the original statutes contained a provision
allowing the Great Master to dispense Knights Companion from these
requirements. The original knights were dispensed from all the
medieval ceremonies with the exception of the Installation, which was
performed in the Order's Chapel, the
Henry VII Chapel
Although the initial appointments to the Order were largely political, from the 1770s appointments to the Order were increasingly made for naval, military or diplomatic achievements. This is partly due to the conflicts Britain was engaged in over this period. The Peninsular War resulted in so many deserving candidates for the Bath that a statute was issued allowing the appointment of Extra Knights in time of war, who were to be additional to the numerical limits imposed by the statutes, and whose number was not subject to any restrictions. Another statute, this one issued some 80 years earlier, had also added a military note to the Order. Each knight was required, under certain circumstances, to supply and support four men-at-arms for a period not exceeding 42 days in any year, to serve in any part of Great Britain. This company was to be captained by the Great Master, who had to supply four trumpeters, and was also to appoint eight officers for this body, however the statute was never invoked.
RESTRUCTURING IN 1815
In January 1815, after the end of the
Peninsular War , the Prince
Regent (later George IV ) expanded the
Order of the Bath
The Order was now to consist of three classes: Knights Grand Cross,
Knights Commander, and Companions. The existing Knights Companion (of
which there were 60) became
THE VICTORIAN ERA
In 1859 a further edition of the Statutes was issued; the changes related mainly to the costs associated with the Order. Prior to this date it had been the policy that the insignia (which were provided by the Crown) were to be returned on the death of the holder; the exception had been foreigners who had been awarded honorary membership. In addition foreigners had usually been provided with stars made of silver and diamonds, whereas ordinary members had only embroidered stars. The decision was made to award silver stars to all members, and only require the return of the Collar. The Crown had also been paying the fees due to the officers of the Order for members who had been appointed for the services in the recent war. The fees were abolished and replaced with a salary of approximately the same average value. The offices of Genealogist and Messenger were abolished, and those of Registrar and Secretary combined.
THE 20TH CENTURY
In 1910, after his accession to the throne, George V ordered the
revival of the Installation ceremony, perhaps prompted by the first
Installation ceremony of the more junior Order of St Michael and St
George , held a few years earlier, and the building of a new chapel
Order of the Thistle in 1911. The Installation ceremony took
place on 22 July 1913 in the
Henry VII Chapel
Prior to the 1913 Installation it was necessary to adapt the chapel to accommodate the larger number of members. An appeal was made to the members of the Order, and following the Installation a surplus remained. A Committee was formed from the Officers to administer the 'Bath Chapel Fund', and over time this committee has come to consider other matters than purely financial ones.
Another revision of the statutes of the Order was undertaken in 1925, to consolidate the 41 additional statutes which had been issued since the 1859 revision.
Women were admitted to the Order in 1971. In the 1971 New Year Honours, Jean Nunn became the first woman admitted to the order. In 1975, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester , an aunt of Elizabeth II , became the first (and to date only) woman to reach the highest rank, Dame Grand Cross. Princess Alice (née Douglas-Montagu-Scott) was a direct descendant of the Order's first Great Master, and her husband, who had died the previous year, had also held that office.
The British Sovereign is the Sovereign of the Order of the Bath. As with all honours except those in the Sovereign's personal gift, the Sovereign makes all appointments to the Order on the advice of the Government.
Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, Great Master 1843–1861. During the nineteenth century, Knights Grand Cross wore their mantles over imitations of seventeenth century dress. They now wear them over contemporary attire.
The next-most senior member of the Order is the Great Master, of which there have been nine:
John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu
* 1749–1767: (Vacant)
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
* 1827–1830: Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
(later King William IV)
* 1830–1837: (Vacant)
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Albert, Prince Consort
* 1861–1897: (Vacant)
* 1897–1901: Albert Edward,
Prince of Wales
Originally a Prince of the Blood Royal, as the Principal Knight
Companion, ranked next after the sovereign. This position was joined
to that of the Great Master in the statutes of 1847. The Great Master
Sash and star of Grand Cross, civil division
The statutes also provide for the following:
* 120 Knights or Dames Grand Cross (GCB) (of whom the Great Master is the First and Principal) * 355 Knights Commander (KCB) or Dames Commander (DCB) * 1,925 Companions (CB)
Regular membership is limited to citizens of the
Members appointed to the Civil Division must "by their personal
services to crown or by the performance of public duties have merited
... royal favour." Appointments to the Military Division are
restricted by the minimum rank of the individual. GCBs hold the rank
of Admiral in the Royal Navy, General in the
Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the Queen and foreigners may be
made Honorary Members. Queen
Honorary members do not count towards the numerical limits in each class. In addition the statutes allow the Sovereign to exceed the limits in time of war or other exceptional circumstances.
Order of the Bath
* a Dean: John Hall , Dean of Westminster (ex officio) * a King of Arms : Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce * a Registrar and Secretary: Iain Henderson * a Deputy Secretary: Alexander Matheson of Matheson, yr. * a Genealogist: Thomas Woodcock * the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod : Charles Vyvyan
The office of Dean is held by the
Dean of Westminster . The King of
Arms, responsible for heraldry , is known as Bath King of Arms; he is
not, however, a member of the
College of Arms , like many heralds. The
Order's Usher is known as the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod; he
does not, unlike his
Order of the Garter
There were originally seven officers, each of whom was to receive fees from the Knights Companion both on appointment and annually thereafter. The office of Messenger was abolished in 1859. The office of Genealogist was abolished at the same time, but revived in 1913. The offices of Registrar and Secretary were formally merged in 1859, although the two positions had been held concurrently for the previous century. An Officer of Arms and a Secretary for the Knights Commander and Companions were established in 1815, but abolished in 1847. The office of Deputy Secretary was created in 1925.
Under the Hanoverian kings certain of the officers also held heraldic
office. The office of Blanc Coursier
HABIT AND INSIGNIA
An embroidered representation, or "chaton", of the star of the
civil division of the Order The insignia of a
Members of the Order wear elaborate costumes on important occasions (such as its quadrennial installation ceremonies and coronations ), which vary by rank:
The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of crimson satin lined with white taffeta . On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.
The hat, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, is made of black velvet ; it includes an upright plume of feathers .
The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold and weighs 30 troy ounces (933 g). It consists of depictions of nine imperial crowns and eight sets of flowers (roses for England, thistles for Scotland and shamrocks for Ireland), connected by seventeen silver knots.
On lesser occasions, simpler insignia are used: The star is used only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander. Its style varies by rank and division; it is worn pinned to the left breast:
The star for military Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of a Maltese Cross on top of an eight-pointed silver star; the star for military Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. Each bears in the centre three crowns surrounded by a red ring bearing the motto of the Order in gold letters. The circle is flanked by two laurel branches and is above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien (older German for "I serve") in gold letters.
The star for civil Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of an eight-pointed silver star, without the Maltese cross; the star for civil Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. The design of each is the same as the design of the military stars, except that the laurel branches and the words Ich dien are excluded.
The badge varies in design, size and manner of wearing by rank and
The military badge is a gold Maltese Cross of eight points, enamelled in white. Each point of the cross is decorated by a small gold ball; each angle has a small figure of a lion. The centre of the cross bears three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock , emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side. Both emblems are surrounded by a red circular ring bearing the motto of the Order, which are in turn flanked by two laurel branches, above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien in gold letters.
The civil badge is a plain gold oval, bearing three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock , emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side; both emblems are surrounded by a ring bearing the motto of the Order.
On certain "collar days " designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or eveningwear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar.
The collars and badges of Knights and Dames Grand Cross are returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood upon the decease of their owners. All other insignia may be retained by their owners.
The Chapel of the Order is the Henry VII Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey . Every four years, an installation ceremony, presided over by the Great Master, and a religious service are held in the Chapel; the Sovereign attends every alternate ceremony. The last such service was in May 2014 and was attended by the Sovereign. The Sovereign and each knight who has been installed is allotted a stall in the choir of the chapel.
As there are a limited number of stalls in the Chapel, only the most
senior Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed. A stall made
vacant by the death of a military
Above each stall, the occupant's heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame's rank (if she is a peer or member of the Royal family) is used.
Above the crest or coronet, the knight's or dame's heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms . At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order.
Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm, mantling and crest (or coronet or crown) are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights (and now Dames) throughout history.
When the grade of
PRECEDENCE AND PRIVILEGES
Coat of arms
Members of the
Order of the Bath
Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander prefix "Sir", and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commander prefix "Dame", to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary foreign members and clergymen do not receive the accolade of knighthood, and so are not entitled to the prefix "Sir", unless the former subsequently become Commonwealth citizens.
Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCB"; Knights Commander use "KCB"; Dames Commander use "DCB"; Companions use "CB".
Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. Furthermore, they may encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a red circle bearing the motto) with the badge pendant thereto and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter.
Knights and Dames Commander and Companions may display the circlet,
but not the collar, around their arms. The badge is depicted suspended
from the collar or circlet. Members of the Military division may
encompass the circlet with "two laurel branches issuant from an escrol
azure inscribed Ich dien", as appears on the badge. Members of the
Order of the Bath
It is possible for membership in the Order to be revoked. Under the 1725 statutes the grounds for this were heresy, high treason, or fleeing from battle out of cowardice. Knights Companion could in such cases be degraded at the next Chapter meeting. It was then the duty of the Gentleman Usher to "pluck down the escocheon of such knight and spurn it out of the chapel" with "all the usual marks of infamy".
Only two people were ever degraded – Lord Cochrane in 1813 and General Sir Eyre Coote in 1816, both for political reasons, rather than any of the grounds given in the statute. Lord Cochrane was subsequently reinstated, but Coote died a few years after his degradation.
Under Queen Victoria's 1847 statutes a member "convicted of treason, cowardice, felony, or any infamous crime derogatory to his honour as a knight or gentleman, or accused and does not submit to trial in a reasonable time, shall be degraded from the Order by a special ordinance signed by the sovereign". The Sovereign was to be the sole judge, and also had the power to restore such members.
The situation today is that membership may be cancelled or annulled, and the entry in the register erased, by an ordinance signed by the Sovereign and sealed with the seal of the Order, on the recommendation of the appropriate Minister. Such cancellations may be subsequently reversed.
In 1923 the Italian dictator
William Pottinger , a senior civil servant, lost both his status of
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Nicolae Ceauşescu was stripped of his honorary
GCB status by Queen
Neck badge, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935 *
Star, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis *
Star and neck Badge awarded to Sir Charles Taylor du Plat
CURRENT KNIGHTS AND DAMES GRAND CROSS
KNIGHTS AND DAMES GRAND CROSS
Military rank (if any) Name Post-nominals Year appointed
Air Chief Marshal Sir Douglas Lowe GCB DFC AFC 1977
Field Marshal The Lord Bramall KG GCB OBE MC JP DL 1979
Air Chief Marshal Sir David Evans GCB CBE 1979
Admiral Sir James Eberle GCB 1981
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Keith Williamson GCB AFC 1982
The Lord Armstrong of Ilminster GCB CVO 1983
Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi GCB 1983
Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry GCB AFC 1983
Sir William Fraser GCB 1984
Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Craig of Radley GCB OBE 1984
General Sir George Cooper GCB MC DL 1984
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Peter Harding GCB 1988
Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE 1988
Sir Clive Whitmore GCB CVO 1988
Sir Peter Middleton GCB 1989
Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick Hine GCB GBE 1989
Sir William Heseltine GCB GCVO AC QSO PC 1990
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst GCB DL 1991
Air Marshal Sir David Parry-Evans GCB CBE 1991
Field Marshal The Lord Inge KG GCB PC DL 1992
Sir Terence Heiser GCB 1992
The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO PC 1992
Air Chief Marshal
General The Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE 1993
Admiral Sir John Kerr GCB DL 1993
Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE DL 1994
General Sir John Waters GCB CBE 1994
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Alcock GCB KBE 1995
General Sir John Wilsey GCB CBE DL 1995
The Lord Burns GCB 1995
Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns GCB KCVO CBE 1997
General Sir Roger Wheeler GCB CBE 1997
Sir Anthony Battishill GCB 1997
The Lord Fellowes GCB GCVO QSO PC 1998
Rt Hon. Sir John Chilcot GCB 1998
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE 1999
Field Marshal The Lord Walker of Aldringham GCB CMG CBE DL 1999
General Sir Jeremy Mackenzie GCB OBE DL 1999
Sir Nigel Wicks GCB CVO CBE 1999
Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire GCB DFC AFC DL 2001
The Lord Wilson of Dinton GCB 2001
Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh GCB DL 2002
Sir Hayden Phillips GCB 2002
Sir David Omand GCB 2004
Admiral The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC PC 2004
General Sir Michael Jackson GCB CBE 2004
Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Stirrup KG GCB AFC 2005
Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry GCB AFC 2006
Sir Richard Mottram GCB 2006
The Lord Janvrin GCB GCVO QSO PC 2007
General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL 2008
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy GCB CBE DSO 2008
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB DL 2008
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB OBE 2010
General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB CBE ADC Gen 2011
Sir David Normington GCB 2011
General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO 2011
The Lord O\'Donnell GCB 2011
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB 2012
General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE ADC 2013
The Lord Macpherson of Earl\'s Court GCB 2015
Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE ADC DL 2016
HONORARY KNIGHTS AND DAMES GRAND CROSS
Position Name Post-nominals Year appointed Office when awarded
Henrik, Prince Consort of
Head of state Jacques Chirac GCB 1996 22nd President of France
Head of state
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Head of state
6th President of
Head of state
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Head of state
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Head of state François Hollande GCB 2014 24th President of France
For people who have been appointed to the Order of the Bath, see the following categories:
* Category:Knights Grand Cross of the
Order of the Bath
* ^ The word "Military" was removed from the name by Queen Victoria
in 1847. Letters Patent dated 14 April 1847, quoted in Statutes 1847.
* ^ Statutes 1725, although Risk says 11 May
* ^ Anstis, Observations, p4
* ^ The Times, 22 June 1897, p10
* ^ "No. 27289".
The London Gazette . 26 February 1901. p. 1414.
* ^ The Times, 25 February 1942, p7
* ^ Statutes 1725, article 4
* ^ Letters Patent dated 14 April 1847, quoted in Statutes 1847
* ^ Statutes 1925, article 9
* ^ Statutes 1925, article 10
* ^ Statutes 1925, article 12
* ^ Statutes 1925, article 15
* ^ The Times, 25 October 1972, p21
* ^ The Times, 1 December 1993, p24
* ^ Samuel, Henry (27 March 2008). "
* Anstis, John (1752). Observations introductory to an historical essay, upon the Knighthood of the Bath. London: James Woodman. * Galloway, Peter (2006). The Order of the Bath. Phillimore. ISBN 1-86077-399-0 . * Nicolas, Nicholas H. (1842). History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, Vol iii. London. * Perkins, Jocelyn (1920). The Most Honourable Order of the Bath